Big Doings from Small Communities
Shared by Bob Lambert, Executive Director
The Housing Authority of the City of Titusville (HACTV) built Titusville Towers in 1972 as a "seniors only" apartment complex. The Commissioners decided the Authority needed to do more to serve our senior citizens and worked toward instituting an Assisted Living Program (ALF) for low and moderate income senior citizens. In 2004 Titusville Towers qualified for an Assisted Living license through the Department of Elder Affairs.
We have been fortunate in keeping our Titusville Towers Assisted Living Facility (TT ALF) healthy and happy during the trying times of COVID-19. Being a facility that houses a Senior Community that are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 it is imperative that we keep them safe. Over the past year, we have adjusted to the multitude of challenges presented by the Coronavirus Pandemic as we continue to maintain services for over 120 residents. At the same time taking measures to prevent and plan for potential infections. Our main focus is to provide the best care possible in ensuring our residents and staff are in a safe and healthy environment and that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is minimized.
We have kept the spirits of our facility up as we fight this COVID-19 dragon that has been spit-firing adversity at every level. We have maintained control over exposure at the TT ALF, with no major break out of the corona virus and very few positive cases reported. Our efforts have definitely been exceptional in response to the circumstances. We installed ultra-violet lighting in all common area air conditioning ducts, as mandates were issued we closed the building to visitors. We initiated staff and visitor temperature reading as well as a Covid-related questionnaire for residents and staff members.
Monthly letters are distributed to our residents, communicating our management activities, areas of available assistance and procedures taken to alleviate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This valuable information is helping our residents to maneuver through the daily impact of COVID-19.
As state mandates were issued to close access to our facility we quickly complied. These restrictions help to control the viral spread but impose additional challenges in providing essential daily requirements to our housing resident. During the ever-changing circumstances we continue to create strategies to secure a healthy home environment for our residents.
Since March of last year, we have been serving three meals (prepared in our kitchen) daily to 120 residents in their individual apartments. From the initiation of this large endeavor our ALF Staff has worked tirelessly, with the assistance of our Public Housing staff, Maintenance staff and Section 8 staff to keep our residents safe, Covid-free, and well-fed. That is well over 120,000 meals delivered over the past 11-months which has been a daunting feat for our Assisted Living Facility staff to undertake. In our efforts to shield the facility we consistently evaluate the situation and adjust accordingly to ensure the care of our residents. We are so thankful for our dedicated staff as they have gone above and beyond, in caring for our residents, while facing additional demands and responsibilities during this pandemic.
Our Titusville Towers ALF has been approved for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Waiver (CLIA). With this waiver we are able to test for the Covid-19 and get results for our residents and staff on-site, usually within 15 minutes! This is a major accomplishment in our fight to reduce risk and spread within our facility.
In partnership with CVS Pharmacy we offered the COVID vaccine on January 17th, to our ALF residents and staff. The organized event was well received and went smoothly with no adverse reactions to the vaccine recorded. This is a huge step in moving forward as we seek a path through this pandemic to save lives and expedite the reopening of our facility.
With our Senior population feeling the effects of isolation we reached out to our local community to join with us in making the holidays brighter for them. With an outpouring of love and donations we were able to provide a drive by parade engaging our residents in a socially responsible event to bring forth Holiday Cheer. News outlets reported on this event, residents made signs of cheer and good tidings and were able to feel some joyous Holiday Magic. Through the generous donations of our community we were able to provide, to each and every resident of our Titusville Towers family, special gifts which made them feel the true spirit of the Holiday Season. Our community made them feel loved and not forgotten.
During the past year our staff has been very creative in designing programs that fulfil our residents needs in a time that they were forced into a situation of isolation from their family, friends and loved ones. A calendar is distributed with internal activities that can be completed in their rooms, keeping them socially distanced but engaged in keeping them active. They are eager to get involved as they are entered into a daily basket raffle if they participate. This encourages them to think and engage their minds which helps with their mental state.
Through the Housing Authority's Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) grant we were able to set up a new computer lab area at Titusville Towers. Two new computers, a printer and new desks were purchased for the benefit of our ALF residents. We are providing computer training sessions to assist our residents in using the computers and software. Access to these computers provide our residents another avenue to stay connected.
We have received funds through the CARES Act - Provider Relief Fund to assist us in preparing, planning and responding to the effects and impact of COVID-19. The funds are providing us with a much needed resource as we navigate through this unprecedented time and are forced to absorb additional costs.
Due to the coronavirus we were forced to put our ground floor expansion of Titusville Towers ALF on hold. We are eager to move forward and are hoping that in the very near future we will be able to start ground-breaking on this project. The new ground floor layout will increase square footage, providing a larger library, recreational and up-scale dining areas for residents to enjoy. New office space will accommodate staff in their ability to provide services to our residents.
HACTV has received a Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Grant to install Carbon Monoxide detectors in each unit of our TT ALF. This is another step in keeping our residents safe and secure.
At our Titusville Towers Assisted Living Facility we continue to be cognizant of our elderly population needs as we take necessary precautions to limit their vulnerability to the viral spread. We understand the emotional impact COVID-19 is presenting and strive to keep a healthy home environment for our elderly residents that call Titusville Towers home.
Titusville Towers ALF Team truly exemplify the title of "Hero" for the lives of those they touch daily. They have proven to be an exceptional team as they guide through this pandemic with tireless effort, dedication and commitment in caring for their residents who rely on them each and every day. We appreciate all they do as they go above and beyond in making a difference for our Titusville Towers family.